You are currently viewing The Cheese Melts Alone: The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Season 13, Episode 2 recap

The Cheese Melts Alone: The Real Housewives of New Jersey: Season 13, Episode 2 recap

My lesson from last week continued to hold true with the second episode from this season – without Jackie throwing off Jennifer and Teresa every week, the conflicts are a lot easier to handle! And this episode essentially rehashed the same fights that already carried over into the season premiere.

Which means that we’re pretty much moving backward after what looked like a couple of steps forward. Dolores and Jennifer still aren’t seeing eye to eye, and I still don’t really know what the crime at the center of their largely one-sided duel is. But the episode devotes a lot of time to Danielle, who is doing THE MOST to ingratiate herself with the viewers and the castmates with the most pull: Jennifer and Teresa (see above for a pattern – be nice to them, you stay on the show).

Danielle visits the Paramus Palace, and after kibbitzing with Jennifer (while their kids have their own playdate in the mansion’s 9,600 rooms), they FaceTime Teresa. During the call they allude to a conversation they had with a former friend of Marge, who gave them some dirt about their rival – but they won’t specify what that is. (This, of course, from the queen of “Don’t ask me anything and just always be loyal.”)

Marge, in turn, is already aware of this exchange, thanks to a “mole” in Jen’s camp. (An assistant? A stylist? A publicist creating ink?) She mentions this lifelong friend of hers having turned on her, meaning that she either tried to get on the show herself and was denied or is using a rumor to get her on the show now. Marge is dismayed that the détente she thought she and Jennifer had reached last season was breached. And it doesn’t bode well for the hatchet she and Teresa seemingly buried in the last episode either.

Before any confrontations can occur, a few other things happen. First, the show sorta breaks the fourth wall by including Teresa’s invitation debacle. Her wedding invites are sent to her intended guests (which include the new housewives she has barely even met), and we see the ostentatious boxes with clear acrylic invites laid over flowers. And then we hear how RHONY’s Ramona Singer snapped a pic on Instagram and gave the away the details to the public, throwing her directly under the bus with no coded language.

Even more delightfully, we see Teresa send out her invitations, which are a clear acrylic invite on top of some live flowers. We had all seen them before because Ramona Singer showed hers off on Instagram and made Teresa change all the details of her big day. I was wondering how and if the show would address this because they would usually rather euphemize and talk about “friend groups” instead of the cast of the show and “in New York” instead of at the reunion. But they straight up were like, “Ramona Singer sucks and ruined Teresa’s wedding.” You have to appreciate the honesty here.

Secondly, even though she isn’t in this episode and isn’t a part of any of the current arguments, my girl Jackie still gets shaded. New housewives Danielle and Rachel talk about how they didn’t get great vibes from Jackie, and that’s why she wasn’t invited to the former’s mozzarella-making party at her home. They use older footage to paint Jackie as a snob, making it look like she was judging their outfits at an earlier encounter. In truth, it probably just means that they knew by this event that Jackie would not be full-time this season, so she wasn’t invited. No need to trash talk her. There’ve been housewives who have been a poor fit on their respective shows in the past – Kim Fields on RHOA, Peggy Sulahian on RHOC, and of course Diana Jenkins on this season’s RHOBH. But Jackie had friends (just not, see above again, Jennifer and Teresa) on her show and lasted four seasons. Her dismissal will always reek to me of something worse, and about which the show will always use coded language.

Marge confronts Danielle at the party, and Jennifer’s defense is always a pivot away from the question. Marge asks point-blank if she wants to be friends, because friends don’t sneak behind each other’s backs to get dirt they can put on layaway. Jennifer describes “friends” as a spectrum. Well, friendship can fit along a spectrum. A friend is something more binary – you are or you aren’t. So Jennifer picks at Marge’s explanation, and feigns umbrage at Marge’s declaration that she needs help. At which point the conversation turns to Jennifer’s issues with Dolores, which Teresa tries to put the kibosh on when asking for a clean slate. And she tries to wash her hands of her fight with Marge by saying her problem was with Melissa trying to be a friend to Marge last year.

Which means we’re back where we’ve been for the last eleven seasons! Teresa and Melissa arguing again over infractions each has committed against each, perceived, real and lied about. (The argument really seems to include a little from all three columns.) Poor Melissa. Even when I think you and Joe are wrong, I still feel bad for you, especially as you back yourself further and further into a corner. Let’s just see what happens in the coming episodes with their ongoing war with one another that I had hoped, erroneously, we were past.

Some highlights from the episode:

Danielle’s son says he can speak British, just to launch into “mother f—er.”

New friend-of Jennifer Fessler engaging in her own war with her plate full of mozzarella – now that’s a war everyone can win.

Teresa’s latest gem: “A fresh of breath air.”

See you next week!